It is thought that when you are in a good mood you work better. But perhaps it is not always so. It depends. According to Canadian research, sometimes the black mood helps the concentration necessary to perform some tasks.
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The researchers discovered it by subjecting some twenty students to some tests on words, after they had listened to different pieces of music, some cheerful and others sad or neutral.
In the first trial, the volunteers had to think of a series of unusual words. And those who had listened to funny music - and that according to them were in a good mood - fared much better than the others, remembering many more words. But when, in the second test, they were asked to indicate a letter that was in the middle of two others, those who had heard the sad music a little earlier, showed themselves much more attentive and capable than the happy, who in 40 percent cases confused the letters.
Unhappy and precise
The study, which in order to be verified will have to be conducted outside of the laboratories, in normal and daily conditions, could mean that those who are not particularly cheerful, can focus better and pay more attention to what they are facing than who they are, instead, in a good mood. In other words, joy is good for all creative tasks, but it distracts us for precision ones.
The attention span
When we are in a good mood, in fact, we probably tend to see things in their entirety, while vice versa the bad mood helps us to concentrate better on one thing at a time. "Attention can be compared to a ray of light - says Adam Anderson of the University of Toronto, who led the research - good humor broadens its range, showing more things than we could see in other circumstances and in some cases lead to greater distraction ».
(News updated December 20, 2006)